The Prince will go see the King tonight in Brooklyn, and William should see a show from LeBron. The biggest Brit of them all should also take a look at the baseline photographers to see something else that is a freak show: The shutterbugs will be all spiffed up.
Word was passed along to the fotogs last week that jeans and sneakers will not be tolerated if they plan to take their usual cross-legged seats along the baseline for Monday night’s Cavs-Nets game. When royalty is in the house — true royalty — there is no such thing as dressing casual.
Which brings us to our latest edition of the MVP rankings, which has a new No. 1.
No disrespect to the King of Spain, but I sat on the sofa Sunday night waiting and waiting for Marc Gasol to take over against the Detroit Pistons, and all I saw was Jon Leuer having the game of his life. That, and Tony Allen making just about every type of big play you could want at either end of the court as Gasol finished with just 2 points. Hey, he still occupies spot No. 1 (ahead of Rajon Rondo) on our as-yet-unpublished Top Free Agents of 2015 list, but dropping a deuce in Auburn Hills ain’t gonna get you the royal treatment here (insert your own throne joke).
When he settles into his seat tonight in the BK, what will Prince William get to see? Aside from the Cavs steamrolling the Nets (the line opened at 5, and I predict a cover), he will get to see the new and improved (?) game presentation show that is light years different than what the Nets were doing two years ago and even last season, when Jay-Z was still a part owner. The default music was rap, the backup default music was hip-hop, and there was a guy yelling “Brooklyn!!!” into the public address microphone a minimum of a dozen times per game.
Having been there last week for the Spurs’ annual visit, I can say this: The game presentation now is almost exactly the same as it was back in the East Rutherford days. Memo to MI5: Shield Prince William’s eyes when DanceCam comes on the JumboTron. This type of dancing would make Tony Manero spin in his virtual cinematic grave. And the music? OK, I can understand cutting out the Jay-Z overload. But elevator music on low volume? Crickey!
I can only hope that someone has the good sense to play nothing but classic British rock-n-roll tonight to please the Prince — if not the King.
On to the rankings …
1. Stephen Curry, Warriors: The young man who was not good enough to be recruited by North Carolina or Duke is making all Davidson grads proud, not to mention the folks in the Bay Area who have been waiting, oh, 30 or 40 years for a team this good to come along. Putting up 23.2 points and 7.7 assists for a team with five double-digit scorers — none of whom are named Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala or David Lee. Perhaps we should talk a little about Draymond Green before handing the Most Improved Player award to Jimmy Butler. In its infinite wisdom, ESPN will NOT be showing Warriors-Rockets on Wednesday night, opting for Heat-Nuggets instead. Even Prince William is smart enough about basketball to be appalled by that decision. Last edition: No. 2
2. James Harden, Rockets: Who needs Superman? What the Rockets have done in Dwight Howard’s absence (he has missed nine straight games, with his team going 7-2) is astounding, and as Harden said after the Rockets defeated the Suns on Saturday night, “Once we get our whole team back and are ready to go, we’re going to be a problem.” Harden is in a virtual three-way tie for the NBA scoring lead (25.2) with Kobe Bryant and Anthony Davis, and he has had at least four assists in every single game this season. Last time he faced the Warriors, as he will again Wednesday night, he went 1-for-11 from downtown. The bet here is that he’ll do a little better in the rematch. Last edition: Unranked
3. Anthony Davis, Pelicans: Remember these words, courtesy of New Orleans coach Monty Williams: “When he’s 23 to 27, we’re going to see something the league has never seen.” That is what Williams had to say Sunday night after Davis’ fourth-quarter outburst helped the Pelicans put away the lowly Lakers to snap a four-game losing streak. I have been saying throughout this season that Davis will be a fixture in these rankings so long as his team keeps its head above water, but that ship seems to be sinking. But at 9-10 as we near the quarter-pole of the current season, the Pels are certainly not out of contention for the postseason. So the ‘Brow stays where he was. Last edition: 3rd
4. Kyle Lowry, Raptors: If Prince William has any flexibility built into his schedule, he will have his royal aircraft drop him in Cleveland on Tuesday night for the latest edition of Raptors-Cavs. In the previous episode Saturday night, the Cavs got a revenge win up north for the home loss earlier this season that spurred James to label his team “fragile.” Lowry has his work cut out for him carrying the team until DeMar DeRozan returns, perhaps later this month, from a groin injury that will not require surgery as previously believed. Will Toronto still lead the East when DeRozan returns? Ask me after the game in Cleveland on Tuesday night. Last edition: Unranked
5. LeBron James, Cavs — The NBA’s best all-around player brings a six-game winning streak into tonight’s game before the Royal Family, and a month from now we’ll look back and laugh at the brief juncture in time when “fragile” and “Cavs” were used in the same sentence with a straight face. Look, the Cavs were going to have growing pains. Let’s not forget that the Miami Heat opened 9-8 in the first season after The Chosen One took his talents to South Beach. Hey, wait a minute … I do believe there will be someone in the building tonight in Brooklyn more befitting of a Chosen One tattoo from the day he was born. Chew on that in your next royalty debate at the water cooler.
Dropped out: Marc Gasol (1); DeMarcus Cousins (4), Jimmy Butler (5).
Chris Sheridan, publisher and editor-in-chief of SheridanHoops.com, is an official MVP voter. Follow him on Twitter.